Cantona explains why Man City are unable to match United's success


The Manchester United legend perceives a difference in the philosophies of both clubs.

King of Old Trafford, Eric Cantona has been discussing the difference between his old club Manchester United and their rivals Manchester City at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Shanghai, with BBC Sport quoting him on why he thinks the Citizens are struggling to create a legacy that leads to success every season.

"City cannot win the league every year," the Frenchman said. "There are so many clubs that can win the league, that's why English football is so exciting. There are clubs who buy the best players, there are clubs who work on young players, and there are clubs who do both.

"I prefer this kind of club, like United, who, while rich enough to buy the best players, also work on young players. The academy at the club is very important, they have worked on that for many years.

"You can buy the best players but when you have a great academy, a great generation, nobody can beat it because they have played together since they were 14 years old - Barcelona also understood that."

United under Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed Cantona at Old Trafford, won back to back titles in four separate spells, with two of those occasions, from 1999 to 2001 and from 2007 to 2009, seeing the club win the league three years in a row.

Since City have been taken over by the Abu Dhabi Group in 2008, they have consistently spent large amounts of money to establish a side capable of challenging for the Premier League, but have just two league titles to their name. Even more interestingly, City have been unable to make any headway in the Champions League, failing to make it to the quarter-finals in the four tournaments they've qualified for. 

City's inability to create a dynasty of success like Ferguson brought in at United looks set to be particularly well proved this season, as Manuel Pellegrini sees his side in very real danger of dropping out of the top four after a horrendous spell.

However, Cantona acknowledges that it isn't always easy to change the makeup of a football club, and only time will tell if City and Chelsea, another club who poured money into the club to turn them into league champions, have successfully focused on their youth system.

"Maybe City are trying to build something, maybe Chelsea are working on that also, but it takes time, and we will see," said the former striker. "You can build a team with a lot of money and the year after you win the league, but with young players you need 10 years."

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch